HTC Nexus One (T-Mobile)
Typical Price: $165.00
CNET Editors' Rating: 4.0 / 5
The good: The Nexus One has a gorgeous display, a lightning-fast processor, and a loaded feature set. The enhanced voice capabilities worked flawlessly, and the phone delivers solid performance.
The bad: Like other Android phones, the Nexus One forces you to store apps on the internal memory. The media player remains average, and it's missing some wanted features like hands-free Bluetooth dialing. Currently, Outlook Calendar syncing is not available.
The bottom line: It doesn't have all the features we'd like, but the Nexus One greatly enhances the Google Android family with a fast processor, good call quality, and improved voice control features. What's more, we love that all versions of the phone will be unlocked.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
Editors' note: On February 2, 2010, Google issued an update to the Nexus One that added multitouch capability. We have changed this review to reflect the new feature. On December 9, 2010, we lowered the score for this product following the release of the Samsung Nexus S.
Call us geeks, but we can't hear the word "Nexus" without thinking of the utopian dimension in Star Trek where all wishes were fulfilled. And in the run-up to the announcement of its Nexus One phone, Google seemed to be going for the same idea. Indeed, when the phone was finally unveiled on January 5, a Google executive billed it as not only a "superphone" that exemplifies what Google Android can do, but also as "the meeting place of Web and phone."
Lofty promises to be sure, but as is usually true in the tech world, things aren't always what they seem. Don't let the standard candy bar design fool you: the Nexus One brings welcome new offerings to the Android table. The Snapdragon processor is undeniably zippy, the AMOLED display is gorgeous, and we welcome both the enhanced voice dialing capabilities and the noise cancellation feature. What's more, the Android 2.1 interface enhancements show that Android continues to improve as it evolves. It's not quite a revolution and it's not the greatest Android phone around--that's a difficult call to make in such a diverse and crowded field--but it adds to an already rich family.
Of course, the Nexus One wasn't without its problems: the music player continues to underwhelm, app storage remains limited to the internal memory, the handset lacks hands-free Bluetooth dialing. And for the time being, the handset does not support Outlook Calendar syncing. But even with those gripes, the Nexus One delivers a satisfying user experience. The operating system can already go to head-to-head with the iPhone, and the Nexus One only gives Android more ammunition.
It's essential to note that the Nexus One is sold exclusively by Google. Believe us when we say it's fairly remarkable that Google is trying to change the typical control-freak ways of the U.S. carriers. Yet, we don't know what to think of the model just yet. On the upside, both versions of the phone--$529 without service and $179 with a two-year T-Mobile contract--will be unlocked. We also like that you get free overnight shipping. On the downside, however, you don't get in-person support when you have problems and you can't handle the phone before buying. Time will tell just how this arrangement works. For you CDMA fans, Verizon Wireless is set to get its own version of the phone in early 2010.
Though sleek and attractive, the Nexus One's candy bar, touch-screen-only design doesn't break new design ground. With its trackball and prominent display, it looks a bit like both the HTC Hero and the HTC Droid Eris. At 4.56 inches by 2.36 inches by 0.47 inch, it's about the same size as the Droid Eris, the Hero, and the iPhone, but it weighs just 4.58 ounces The two-toned gray color scheme is standard smartphone, but the handset has a comfortable and very solid feel in the hand.
Not surprisingly, the Nexus One's star attraction is its 3.7-inch AMOLED display. Bursting with 16.7 million colors and an 800x480-pixel resolution, the display really is a wonder. Everything from standard text to busy photos and graphics jumped right off the display in full glory. The Android 2.1 operating system adds to the fun with 3D graphics (more on that later) and live wallpapers, which are animated backgrounds that react to your touch and your music. They're a nifty and attractive touch, but we realize they may be a bit much for some people and we're not sure if they affect battery life. Standard wallpapers are available if you're not game.
Like the Motorola Cliq, there are five home screens for full personalization. You can add and delete shortcut icons and folders at will, and you can use the dedicated Google Search box. You'll see a customizable weather/news box that's similar to that on the Cliq, though here it's more extensive and its design is refined. The display also offers an accelerometer, an ambient light sensor, and a proximity sensor. We found that the touch interface is accurate and responsive, both on the edges and in the center. Haptic feedback can guide you if you need help. We would like options for touch calibration and sensitivity, however.
Compared with previous Android phones, the Nexus One brings a few unique touches to the home screen. A square touch control with a grid design replaces the menu tab found on other Android phones. It makes no difference to usability as long as you recognize what it does. You'll also find dots on either side of the touch control that let you skip to an individual home screen or view thumbnails of all home screens in a row. Another change is a shortcut bar that allows you to activate and deactivate the Bluetooth, GPS, syncing, and Wi-Fi features, and control the display brightness. It's all very handy since you don't have to dig through a menu.
The main menu is similar to previous Android phones, but it now takes on a rolling effect at either end where the icons recede into the distance like the title crawl in a "Star Wars" film. Interior menus, the design of the Android Market, and the display lock and mute icons are comparable with the features offered by the Motorola Droid. You can adjust the brightness and backlighting time, and limit the display animations.
The four touch controls below the display--a back button, home and search keys, and a control for the notifications menu--are standard Android. A long press to the home screen will bring up your recent features, and a long press to the search control will activate voice search. The touch controls take a firmer press than we'd like. More than a few times we had to touch a button twice to get it to register our command. When you're not using the touch screen, the trackball will be your primary interface tool for accessing menus. It's large and responsive, and it lights up when you have a message. We know that other Nexus One reviewers had more trouble with the trackball, but to be honest, we use the touch screen almost completely so we didn't have any issues. The virtual keyboard is also unchanged from other Android phones; you can use it in both landscape and portrait modes. We still think Android has the best predictive typing program in the business.
The power control sits on the top of the phone, next to the 3.5mm headset jack. We're thankful that the jack has a standard size for using your own headphones. The volume rocker on the left spine is thin, but it's easy to find when you're on a call. On the rear side are the camera lens, the flash, and a space you can engrave with a personal message. You'll have to remove the battery to access the microSD and SIM cards. The Micro-USB port sits on the phone's bottom end and accommodates both the charger and a USB cable.
As an Android phone, the Nexus One has everything you'd expect from the OS. The contacts menu is limited by the available memory, but each entry can store multiple fields for phone numbers, street addresses, work information, e-mails, URLs, instant-messaging handles, nicknames, and notes. Contacts are automatically synced from your Gmail account, and you can also sync Facebook and Microsoft Exchange contacts. We did both and the process took just seconds. As with previous Android phones, you must store applications from the Android Market on the 512MB of internal memory. MicroSD cards (the Nexus One comes with a 4GB card, but it can accommodate cards up to 32GB) are only for other data files.
Besides Gmail, the Nexus One also supports additional POP3 and IMAP4 accounts, though not through a unified in-box. We added an Outlook Web Access (OWA) CNET e-mail, but we were unable to add a Yahoo Mail account via automatic setup. When we tried doing so, we received a message that not all Yahoo accounts are supported. That's the first time we've seen that on an Android phone, or any smartphone for that matter, and it's troubling. When we typed in our Yahoo account anyway, the Nexus One informed us that our username and password were incorrect (we did it several times to be sure). We were successful only after we performed a manual setup (you'll need the correct ports and server names). Note that free Yahoo accounts will not sync over Wi-Fi. Booo.
Unfortunately, neither Google nor Yahoo were particularly helpful when we were having problems. A Google spokeswoman said that the company is "not aware of specific problems," and that I should contact Yahoo for more information. A Yahoo spokesman promised to look into the problem and offered this response. "It's unfortunate that Google launched a mobile device without properly integrating e-mail from Yahoo--the number one mobile mail service in the United States. We're working with Google to correct this in order to provide the best possible mobile mail experience for consumers."
Sadly, Calendar syncing looks to be incomplete. Though your Gmail Calendar will sync automatically, currently the Nexus One does not support Outlook Calendar and notes. Google says that feature is coming soon, but for now the Nexus One is not a full-fledged business device. Alternatively, Google says it is developing an Enterprise model of the Nexus One.
The Nexus One's primary feature selling point is its voice command features. In addition to dialing, you can perform a variety of functions, such as updating your Facebook page, composing a text message, and searching the Android Market using only your voice. We jumped in right away and were astounded how well it worked even in a crowded room. Indeed the only mistake it made was it spelled "be" with just the letter b when we said "I will be late." The feature is speaker-independent so no voice acclimation testing is required. Just keep in mind that the process is not entirely hands-free. You'll still have to press the microphone icon on the display to activate the feature and occasionally press other icons to move between text fields.
The 5-megapixel camera is a few leaps ahead of most Android phones. Beyond the choice of four resolutions, it also offers the aforementioned flash, white balance and color effect controls, autofocus, infinity focus, a 2x digital zoom, and three quality settings. We like the enhanced camera interface that came with Android 1.6, especially the quick switch to the camcorder. You can record up to 30 minutes of video in a 720x480-pixel resolution (20 frames per second), but clips for multimedia messages are capped at 30 seconds. You can also select a quality setting, a color effect, and white balance.
Photo quality is satisfying. Colors looked natural and there was little image noise. The flash is relatively bright, though it doesn't appear to be of much help in completely dark places. Check out our Nexus One camera slideshow for a full assessment of the image quality. Video quality is about average. When you're finished shooting, just forward the photos to friends using the usual methods. Alternatively, you can use one-click upload to Picasa and YouTube. You also can geotag your shots for your reference. On the downside, the troubling Android shutter lag remains. When shooting, you still have to keep your phone steady for up to 4 seconds to avoid a blurry photo.
The Gallery application offers a few improvements. When you first open the gallery, photo groups will be arranged in stacks with the name of the group underneath. Tapping each stack will display the photos in a grid format for easy scanning, or you can swipe through each shot individually in a slideshow. And thanks to the 3D graphics, the photos will appear to rotate as you tip the phone.
We had hoped Google would give us a better media player on the Nexus One, but that's not the case. There's nothing bad about the Android player; it's just not that exciting. You get album art, repeat and shuffle modes, and the option to make playlists. You can add music via a USB cable, a memory card, or from the Amazon MP3 Store. Access to a quality video store and an FM radio are still on our wish list, though.
Other features include a calculator, a full duplex speakerphone, a compass, a text-to-speech feature, A2DP stereo Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, text and multimedia messaging, and the full slate of Google applications like YouTube, Picasa, Google Voice, Google Talk, and Google Goggles. The latter features suggests Web pages after you take a photo with the camera. It worked to varying degrees of success. Google Maps offers the standard features, plus a night mode and search suggestion. Please see the Performance section for more on the Nexus One's Bluetooth feature and Web browser.
Thanks to Android 2.1, the Nexus One also has the Car Home application, which offers local search and real-time, turn-by-turn directions with voice. Unfortunately, we don't get native tethering for the moment. It's unclear whether the holdup is Google, T-Mobile, or HTC.
We tested the Nexus One in Las Vegas and in San Francisco with T-Mobile service. As a quad-band world phone (GSM 850/900/1800/1900), you'll be able to use the Nexus One with any GSM carrier, but its 3G bands (2100/AWS/900) are compatible only with T-Mobile's network in the United States. AT&T customers will be able to use the Nexus One, but their data speeds will top out at EDGE.
Call quality was quite good on the whole. Conversations were clear, the volume was loud, and we heard little static or interference. Indeed, the noise cancellation feature seemed to work as we could hear clearly when we were in a crowded room. We even could get service at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the 2010 International CES. With thousands of cell phone-happy people in one place, CES can be a notorious dead zone.
On their end, callers said we sounded good. They could tell we were using a cell phone, but they reported no problems with the volume level or clarity. The phone dialer interface is easy to use, and we like the one-touch access to your contacts and recent calls lists. Also, when you're on a call, you can switch to Bluetooth or the speakerphone with one touch.
Speakerphone calls were satisfactory as well. The sound was tinny and a tad distorted at the higher volumes, but it gets pretty loud. We had no difficulty carrying on conversations in most environments. Friends reported similar conditions on their end, though a few mentioned more background noise. We tested the Nexus One with the Sound ID 200 Bluetooth headset. Bluetooth calls were admirable, though it's worth noting that like the Droid you cannot initiate voice dialing without touching the phone.
The full HTML Web browser lacks Flash Lite, but we welcomed the addition of multitouch with the February, 2010 software update. Now you can zoom in by double-tapping your finger and by using the pinch and zoom method available on the iPhone and the HTC Droid Eris. Both methods worked quite well with smooth motion and no lag. In the meantime, though, the browser offers other Android features like bookmarks, multiple windows, and the capability to cut and paste. Using T-Mobile's 3G network, the signal was mostly reliable and Web pages loaded relatively quickly. For example, graphics-heavy sites like wow.com and airliners.net loaded in about 30 seconds on 3G (compared with a minute and a half on EDGE). We've read, however, that many Nexus One users have reported that their phones frequently drop down from 3G to EDGE and others have no 3G connection at all.
The GPS application performs better than on other Android phones, but it still missed us by a block or two. It's not a deal-breaker, unless you're trying to direct someone to you. In those cases, make sure you're giving accurate directions. Music quality is decent over the external speaker, but a headset will offer the best experience. Streaming video over the YouTube app is mostly satisfying, but it will depend on your 3G connection.
The Nexus One's greatest triumph is its 1Ghz Snapdragon processor. It made a huge difference that was noticeable as soon as we dove into the phone. Applications loaded instantly and there was no lag when switching between features. We tried to time the average loading time for opening memory-heavy intensive applications, but it was so fast we had trouble recording it on a stopwatch. Believe us when we say it's fast. We also didn't encounter the lag we often get when swiping between home screens on the Moto Cliq. It's not an understatement to say that the Nexus One is the fastest Android phone we've seen.
Rated battery life for the Nexus One is as follows: 10 hours of 2G talk time or 7 hours of 3G talk time; 12 days of 2G standby time or 10.4 days of 3G standby time; 5 hours of Internet use on 3G or 6.5 hours on Wi-Fi; 7 hours of video playback and 20 hours of audio playback. So far, we've been pleased with the Nexus One's performance. In our tests we encountered 5 hours and 10 minutes of 3G talk time, 9 hours and 14 minutes of 2G talk time, and 19 hours and 20 minutes of audio playback. For video playback, we got an average of 4.5 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, the Nexus One has a digital SAR of 0.867 watt per kilogram.
Average User Rating: 4.0 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 27
4 Star: 9
3 Star: 1
2 Star: 0
1 Star: 6
A Great Leap Foward for Android Phones
Rating: 5 / 5
on January 6, 2010
12 out of 12 users found this review helpful
Pros: 1. The CPU speed
2. 5 megapixial camera with flash
3. screen display
4. fully customizable homescreen, widgets and enhanced photo galley features
5. voice recognition on almost every application
Cons: Internal memory and lack of multitouch
Summary: My previous phone was the t-mobile mytouch 3g with 1.6 android operating system. This was a certainly a great great update. It was very simple to just swap my microSDHC and sim card onto this new phone. Everything i've purchased was already displayed in the android market ready to be redownloaded. I myself own the itouch, my brother owns the iphone and his wife owns the iphone 3gs. I have to say this is whole lot better than the iphone. the experience is much better. the multitasking is easier. running multiable applications without feeling sluggish one bit just makes this phone a dream, that was one major draw back in the mytouch 3g. after running at least 5 program, i felt that the mytouch3g was going to explode. another feature problem that i had with the mytouch3g was accidently touching other letters on the keyboard. The nexus was absolutely less cumbersome.
as for a iphone killer. i wont say yes or no. but the experience of multitasking is just simply joyful. I customized each pannel according to my needs. i add widgets to where ever i want. i design this phone to suit my needs. the nexus already runs faster than the iphone 3gs and on top of that it can multitask with easy. what i can i say?
the only thing i wish google launch was a itune like application for the PC. i dont care much about the music, but being able to manage the videos, applications and music on the pc would be a nice addition. but i guess google wanted this phone to be like its own computer.
i'm sure with later augments to the nexus and the android os, this phone will prove to be well accredited. as for apple as for their next phone, faster processor and seemless integration in our daily lives is obvious, they have to learn to make a leap in their iphone os. multitasking and customizeable pages are here. it's 2010 baby.
Updated on Jan 8, 2010
btw, i love how this phone examine your facebook friends and add them to your contact list. it automatically inserts their facebook picture into your contacts.
I noticed many people complained that the android doesnt have multitouch. This is totally incorrect. It's already built into the device already. it's just not enable because of copyright infringements. only proof i can give you if you want to play with the multitouch is to install dolphin web browser as your default browser.
3rd day with the phone i havent experience any downside. the phone is super fast.
Updated on Jan 12, 2010Almost had this phone for a full week. This phone still has a stellar performance. I think my phone's battery is running at its peak capacity. discharged the battery and recharged once so far. I did this a couple of times on mytouch because it had an initial battery life problems until i did this full drain and recharge (mytouch last like a bit more than a day at best from 8am till 12pm). i think through a full day of playing videos, plush pushing work e-mails, download updates, video games (5min), txting, e-mail and reading the news my phone is drained about 39%. so according to my phone my phone has been active for 14 hrs 28 mins since it's last charge. the display consumed 73% of the power, follow by cell phone stand by at 8%, and everything else is less than that. the power display is set at 25% marker (or at the middle setting on the power widget).
Updated on Jan 14, 2010i just unboxed the earphone. i know lame. i thought this was just a simple ipod headphone, which i have tons. im not an audiophile, but i love how google spare no expense for this phone. the headphonese are black and on one ear piece there's a cute android logo, but that's not the best part. the headphones have media player controller. it allows users to control the music player (foward, rewind, play, and pause) and it also allow users answer the phone with the play/pause button. i also like how google choose the finish for the back of the nexus phone. it feels very smooth and it's not prone to finger prints like the itouch/iphone
Updated on Feb 3, 2010just got the android 2.1 update 1 OS.
The multi-touch support and 3G connectivity were addressed.
The multi-touch works great. no qualms about it. I'm not sure if affects the keyboard or issues that people had with keyboard. i'm using a combination of the beta program swype, google android keyboard and the Google Pinying keyboards. I'm not having any issues. i tried speed typing with the android oem keyboard and it works fine from what i see. I also have the sleeve guard over nexus, perhaps prevent accidently multi-touch on the keyboard? Not sure, but the keyboard is working great.
Google Map update is just getting beter. Considering you're purchasing a portable internet device, music player, phone and GPS the cost of the phone is well worht it. i rely on my Nexus for live traffic updates.
i noticed 3G connection works great now. my trouble spot (2 areas at work) gives me constant 3/4 bars of 3G connection. I sort of had the same with mytouch before.
kudos to google
DOA sum it up!
Rating: 0.5 / 5
on February 23, 2010
2 out of 3 users found this review helpful
Pros: The product itself look very nice and sleek. Browser is pretty fast and correctly load webpage in it's native form unlike my previous iphone3g. Nice packaging as well, very "Apple" like.
Cons: It was dead within 1hr the moment I turn it off when the battery indicated low. I can't not tell you how frustrated I am now. I've waited 4 days for the phone. Now I might have to go 1-2 weeks and through the hassle of Google and HTC finger pointing.
Summary: Google does not directly support the warranty of the phone so why would they even sell it in the first place? They should let T-Mobile carried the phone for heaven's sake so that I can go straight to T-Mobile store and return the very short lived phone. I ditch my iphone for this?
Updated on Mar 13, 2010
great phone that's really smart
Rating: 5 / 5
on May 8, 2010
1 out of 1 users found this review helpful
Pros: 1. thin & light
2. android OS with LOTS of FREE programs (way, way more than I saw on the web just going to the android market page without the phone), including plenty of programs for physicians & scientists (you just need to know how to find the
Cons: 1. won't let you choose which picassa web albums you want to sync (it's all or none from your account); also no option to just download the album to your phone's SD card for offline viewing
2. no sound profiles available (you just adjust the volume-
Summary: Pros continued (i ran out of room above):
3/4. lots of memory & beautiful display
5. easy to type (relative to iphone), with good correction software (and ti's easy to put your own commonly used words in its dictionary)
6. lots of home screens (i made one with direct dial shortcuts for my most frequently called numbers)
7. google calendar is great
8. it was actually easy to sync my outlook contacts & calendar to google
9. expandable memory card slot lets me hold LOTS of programs & music
10. way bettter than my old HTC tilt and my old blackberry pearl flip phones
11. background noise cancellation works great
12. lightening fast browser, etc when connected to a wifi network or 3G (too slow on edge, but that depends on where you live if you're using the gps
13. built in GPS makes my garmin useless as it's actually easier to use & clearer!
14. DOES do multi-touch technology, including the ability to expand or reduce a web page's size by pinching in like on iphone (a lot of reviews say it doesn't do this because they had the first os version)
2 - as needed, but won't let you make a notification ringtone for when the phone is loud and have it vibrate when on silent, etc)
3. you have to move the battery to switch the memory card
4. the light touch buttons on the bottom kind of suck- they should have been hard buttons
5. the only thing the track ball is good for is lighting up and tracking back within a sentence for editing
Neither pro nor con:
1. I really like the headphones it came with, but my husband was disappointed, saying he expected noise cancelling headphones for the phone's price
2. camera takes really beautiful pics, but there is a delay from when you press the button to when it snaps the photo; enough time for my toddler to move
3. battery display on the top doesn't really let you know how much battery is left with any accuracy, but there's a free widget that does
Overall, this is the best phone I've owned, and really the only one to add back full PDA functionality, especially for the medical programs. I hope google makes some updates to the next version of the android OS, based on my critics above, but overall this is really the best phone for me, as a mother, wife, and physician in New York.
Better than Expected
Rating: 5 / 5
on March 9, 2010
1 out of 1 users found this review helpful
Pros: F A S T, great display and it has plenty of room for apps.
Cons: Bottom buttons are a bit tricky and no blue tooth voice dialing.
Summary: I migrated from the G1 to the Nexus One. Couldn't be easier. I was able to keep my cheap family voice plan, and there is no cost difference between the G1 data plan and the Android data plan, so my monthly bill is the same (conversion took minutes even though T-Mobile quoted 2-48 hrs). All the apps I purchased on the G1 showed up as purchased on the Nexus One and downloaded and installed effortlessly. The OS is more polished moving from Android 1.6 to 2.1. It is lightning fast compared to the G1 and everything just seems to work better and faster.
Overall, a great phone and a significant improvement over my beloved G1.
Excellent hardware, almost excellent software
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on March 8, 2010
1 out of 1 users found this review helpful
Pros: VERY fast
Android is getting to be very good
Excellent web surfing
Decent multimedia performance
Android apps are pretty good, unless you're looking to game hard on your phone
Voice input actually works extremely well
Works well overall as a phone
Cons: Those four haptic feedback buttons aren't the most responsive
Android could still use some improvement
Not pertinent to a user review, but I'm not sure how this whole "selling online" scheme will work for Google.
Summary: Let me start out by saying that the hardware, the technical specs on the Nexus One are absolutely superb. You can really feel the speed of that Snapdragon CPU in it. I did not encounter a single lag or hiccup in performance using it for several hours. That said, I feel like a phone as powerful and - dare I say it - classy as the Nexus One should have more than a measly 4GB of preinstalled storage.
Voice quality is good and clear, certainly better than many smartphones out there. Android's phone app isn't all that great, but it gets the job done almost all the time.
In terms of software, having used and interacted with Android since the G1, believe me when I say that Android has come a very, very long way. Its power was undeniable from the start, but since v1.5, Android has also developed a relatively friendly user interface that easily beats the pants off that of WinMo or BlackBerry's. However, it is not at the iPhone's or Palm Pre's level of ease of use yet. Given how aggressively Google has been updating and polishing it, I'm sure that Android will only become easier to use in the future. The Nexus is a great example of how far Android has come, and how much greater it can still become in the future.
Now that the Nexus has multitouch, its web browser is finally something that even the most rabid iPhone fanboy can't scoff at. Not that it wasn't decent before, but now it is even better. And if you don't like the stock Web browser, you can get another one from Android Market.
Which leads right into my next point. Android Market, the applications depot for Android, is arguably the unsung hero of the Android platform. Apple's App Store gets all the hoopla, but the Market has over 20,000 apps and counting. When comparing app stores, numbers eventually become less and less important. Is the App Store, with 150,000 apps or so, really 7x better than the Android Market? Definitely not. As I mentioned above, if you're not looking to play games on your phone - Android's selection of games is the one glaring weakness of the Market - then an Android phone has a bevy of useful and productive apps.
As I said before, the 4GB of storage is pretty pathetic, but if you're willing to shell out a bit more and get a decent amount of storage, Android will deliver in terms of multimedia. Again, it's not as polished and smooth as the iPhone's, but it gets the job done in a more "workmanlike" way.
And by the way, the much-ballyhooed voice input feature on the Nexus is NOT a gimmick. It is exceedingly accurate, and you can actually count on it as a handsfree way of entering input on your phone.
Now, while this phone is on the whole quite good, there are some flaws. It's a shame that HTC put such wimpy haptic feedback buttons on the bottom of the phone. Simply put, they're not very responsive. I had to hit one of them almost six times before it finally registered the touch.
I've already mentioned the 4GB of storage. It's a mistake, plain and simple. Fix it, HTC.
While Android is getting to be an excellent mobile OS. It's handily competes with iPhone OS and WebOS and the upcoming Windows Phone 7 Series in terms of functionality. However, it needs UI work. There are still a bit too many moments where I need to think about where to go on the phone in order to do something. Like I said, it's come a hell of a way, but it's not at that "dead simple" operational level.
To wrap this up, the Nexus One is easily the best Android phone, and is a fierce competitor in the top smartphone tier. If Google can just keep working on Android as hard as they have, and if HTC can just fix those two incredibly infuriating hardware flaws, it could be the best smartphone overall. But it's just not there yet. Keep that in mind if you're looking to buy one.